Introduction, navigating this site and a warm welcome…

    If you love music and are hungry for content of substance, then you’ve come to the right place. Hi. My name is Nick. Allow me to bid you a warm welcome to my site. As a Toronto-based wordsmith who has spent the better part of his life writing for major newspapers and music magazines, I’ve posted at least 500 stories here – the majority of them music-driven –…

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His father’s death taught him to stop trying so hard. Now Royal Wood is reaping the rewards.

By Nick Krewen Special to the Star November 30, 2019 On December 3, local singer and songwriter Royal Wood will be fulfilling a lifelong dream by headlining a show at Roy Thomson Hall. Actually, it’s a two-part aspiration, but he completed the first half a few years ago when he sold out Massey Hall. “It’s funny, I got shown a video a while back where I said I wanted to…


Maqueque new queens of Afro-Cuban jazz, with Jane Bunnett’s boost

Nick Krewen Special to the Star Nov 02, 2019 Like Hilario Duran, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and countless other Cuban musicians, pianist and composer Dánae Olano owes Toronto’s Jane Bunnett and Larry Cramer a debt of gratitude. With the continuing Cold War between Cuba and the U.S. unlikely to thaw under their present regimes, musicians occupying the island  have found it nearly impossible to find career traction when restricted to staying within…


Music’s Guardian Angel: The Unison Benevolent Fund

Unison Benevolent Fund has helped more than 800 music professionals in Canada. The charity itself now needs help. By Nick Krewen Special to the Star October 23, 2019 Two-and-a-half years ago, Bill Bell, long-time guitarist for Tom Cochrane, was lying on the floor of his Toronto home in the midst of a nervous breakdown when he received the call that changed his life. Bell’s friend, music executive Allan Reid, had…


U.S. immigration crackdown inspires Jessie Reyez’s charged new music video

Nick Krewen Special to the Star Oct 07, 2019 In the visually compelling video for her latest song “Far Away,” Toronto’s Jessie Reyez pulls no punches when depicting immigrant persecution in Trump’s America. During the two-minute-and-50-second scenario directed by Peter Huang, Reyez’s character and her male love interest are dancing at a party that is suddenly stormed and tear-gassed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, who end up…


How Toronto’s master guitar maker brings a new instrument to life — and why she worries

By Nick Krewen Special to the Star October 02,  2019 “Whoo-oo! Would you look at that?” Pleased as punch, musician Stephen Fearing is leaning moon-eyed over an open case, cooing over his latest custom-built, flat-top, six-stringed guitar, its European Spruce surface kissed by the slightest toasted-sunburst finish and adorned with a mother-of-pearl replica of Fearing’s signature on its fingerboard. Linda Manzer, the world-renown luthier who spent more than a year crafting…